Safe Hands Award winner Allan Douglas Jr sent out a plea to his St George’s team-mates to be more united if they are to break Somerset’s Cup Match stranglehold next year.
The West Enders were dominant in the rain-hit draw at Wellington Oval last week, but Douglas was presented with the Safe Hands Award for the second successive year at Bermuda Healthcare Services in Paget yesterday after a spectacular boundary catch to dismiss Stephen Outerbridge. He followed that up by running out Jekon Edness with a direct hit from gully to seal his award.
The draw extended Somerset’s grip on the cup to six years, with St George’s previous victory in 2011 and Douglas says that talent is not the issue and that the East Enders can learn plenty from their Cup Match rivals.
“It’s kind of hard at the moment, we are kind of chopping and changing,” Douglas said. “I think that’s the only downfall for us, that we don’t have the unity that Somerset have.
“The talent is on the same page, it’s just that we now have to come together as a team to sort this problem out. It goes deeper than the field, so I am hoping the players get this message that for next year, we need more unity as players. From the Bay players, to the St David’s players, to Rangers, whoever’s coming out to play Cup Match for St George’s, we need unity.
“We haven’t had a stable team in how long now? Everybody’s fighting for a position, people are trying to get this guy out and get this guy in. I think we just need to solidify one strong team, like how Somerset’s doing. [We need to] work around a nucleus of players and let’s solidify St George’s cricketing abilities once more.
“We have a year to figure this one out and get it right next time because I’m tired of losing to Somerset!”
St George’s were 27 for two after only 6.2 overs were possible on the first day because of the constant rain last Thursday before being bowled out for just 89 on Friday. Somerset made 211 for seven before declaring at tea to set up a tense finish.
St George’s were 58 for five in their second innings before Lionel Cann, who moved past Wendell Smith into third place on the overall Cup Match runs list, and Rodney Trott dug in to rescue a draw with St George’s finishing on 104 for five.
Douglas was full of praise for Cann and Trott, but said he would have declared after the first day to force Somerset back in on a damp wicket.
“With Lionel Cann and Picnic [Trott] batting right through the second day, they did a tremendous job with that,” Douglas said. “I just don’t think we were really focused in on the match with all that rain.
“There was a lot of pressure on a lot of players, including myself going into Cup Match as the most in-form batsman, once again, this year. With most people saying I’ve got to make a lot of runs this year, and me not doing so, I guess a lot of people were kind of upset at the 89, and then the .
“In the first innings we were trying to push the score after the rain and were looking to try and declare very early with a good bit of runs on the board. But we tried to push the score too much and ended up with 89.
“So obviously fans who don’t know too much about cricket are going to say: ‘What’s wrong with the St George’s team?’ But you have to bowl out the team twice in two days, and with the rain it was pretty much one day, so I think we should have declared on 27 when it came to the game the next day and sent Somerset in on a wet wicket.
“They sent us in on the first session on the second day, the wicket was still damp, wet, still holing up a bit. That’s why I couldn’t have played the shots that I wanted to play because the wicket didn’t come on like it did later in the day when the sun dried it.
“You saw how Somerset were able to sit up, bat and make easy runs, like my cousin [Chris Douglas]. And he opened, and when he came to the wicket it was completely dried out. I just thought that was a bit of a lapse for us in our management and the coaches’ part. I think we should have declared earlier.”
Douglas also had kind words for his cousin, Chris, who hit his first Classic half-century.
“This was his ninth Cup Match, so he was excited to get that finally and also to get the MVP,” Douglas said. “I guess it’s the Douglas factor once again!”
As for his own efforts, Douglas was surprised to hold on to the ball, despite his athleticism, which led to his wild, spur-of-the-moment celebration.
“Back in high school I used to compete in high jump, long jump, 100 metres, 200 metres, so I was just an all-round athlete,” he said.
“I think if I was born in America, I would have been an American football player also! But I definitely wasn’t expecting to get that high. I was actually trying to stop the ball going for six and the ball got stuck in my hand. So I was more surprised than anybody else.
“The celebration definitely wasn’t choreographed! That’s just my normal celebration — putting my arms out, flying around!
“They nickname me ‘The Gazelle’. It suits me well, on the cricket field, the football field, whatever field I’m on.”